A WEEKEND AT PELION

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When someone thinks of Greece, two things come to mind first: the Acropolis and the islands. But there are so many underrated and not tourist-popular places that are definitely worth your attention. Such as Pelion and the surrounding areas. Here’s the story of my first experience at Pelion.

The past week and at last minute’s notice, Alex and I found ourselves in Volos for a business trip. That weekend came with a non-working Monday, so due to the 3 day break, every hotel was overbooked. A miscommunication with the receptionist at Valis hotel and their not updated website (seems it’s not pet-friendly in the end) led us to cancel our staying and leave frustrated. As you can imagine, finding a pet friendly hotel with available rooms was quite a challenge at 10 o’ clock at night.

I found Stevalia Hotel 10km away from the area we were supposed to have the meetings and up in the mountain (next to the ski center) instead of in front of the sea. But do I complain? Hell NO! Actually I consider ourselves very lucky for what we initially thought as a misfortune. Stevalia Hotel is located at “Katochori” village at the beautiful Pilio (a mountain in the heart of central Greece). Beautiful room suites, very clean, the freshest breakfast, an amazing spa area and the most welcoming staff are reasons I highly recommend it and will definitely go back. The only thing I can’t understand is why it would be a 3 star-ratted hotel while it should be 4-5 easily.

The nature and the fresh air up there was incomparable and the near-by attractions endless. Did I mention that crystal clear, Caribbean style beaches are just a short drive away? Mylopotamos, Agios Ioannis and Chorefto are the most popular and I loved every single one of them. Also try Damouchari, Papa Nero and Fakistra, equally beautiful and unspoiled.

Make sure you take a camera with you or have your iPhone fully charged on your way to the beaches. Amazing landscapes and views, unspoiled nature and wild life, synthesize one of the most beautiful routes I’ve ever seen.

Food:

Every little village around Pelion has its little taverns. The ones that are closer to the mountain usually serve “winter”, heavier traditional food and the ones closer to the sea, what else, seafood. You can’t do wrong, no matter where you go, but from what I’ve tried I highly recommend the following:

  • To Katofli tis Kaitis – located at Katochori, 10 steps away from Stevalia hotel. Food for champions, vegetables from the owner’s garden.
  • Akrogiali – located at Agios Ioannis, in front of the sea. Fresh fish and seafood delicacies.
  • Poseidonas – located at Agios Ioannis and as the name suggests, it serves sea «jewels». Every local I asked, said that when they don’t eat at home, they eat there. You gotta trust the locals.

And as for souvenirs…Pelion is very popular for its jams. Fresh and homemade, sold in every little shop of every village. The best one I tried was a strawberry jam from “Portaria” and brought 2 jars back home. Simply amazing.

So next time you are in Greece, try the alternative way and live the local experience at Pelion!

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